Mails on Woodward, Henderson as POTY, peak Rojo > Maguire…

Date published: Thursday 30th January 2020 2:59

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The FA Cup has been fixed
I think I’ve cracked it. I’ve solved how to fix the FA Cup. Hear me out, but what needs to be done is that the winner doesn’t get a Europa League spot, but gets to claim whatever prize they want in the English footballing world.

Obviously there would be parameters, like you cannot pick the title, but let’s say you can pick Champions Leage spot. So if Southampton finished 10th and won the cup, they can take ‘3rd’ spot in the League, and everyone moves down one accordingly. Let’s say Norwich won, and finished 20th. They could take ‘3rd’, ‘5th’ (if they wanted the Europa) or they could pick 17th and avoid relegation, thus relegating 17th.

This would continue down the leagues, picking a promotion spot or avoiding relegation (can’t take a double prize of avoiding relegation and being promoted), or taking the last CL or EL spot.

Think about how much more interesting and exciting it would be. So much more on the line for everyone involved.
Néill, Ireland


How to complicate everything
Following comments from mailers, and multiple podcast contributors on Pep’s cynical foul type football and how unfair it is on the opposing team, I have come up with a solution, well I have modified the NBA team foul system really. What if, accumulated fouls could be a resource that could be used in a game by the fouled team? In the same way that 2 yellows equals a red, 2 fouls would equal a yellow but with a twist. If at the point that Matic got the second yellow, if the fouls were 10 for city and 4 for united, united could have used 2 of their 6 fouls in hand to cancel off the yellow. This would create even spicier football at the end of games. If at the 80th minute, a team has accumulated 10 fouls, it has a chance to commit 5 edgy fouls that would result in yellows and just use its accumulated fouls to get away with it. So a team like Man U could go in a bit hard on a city defense player knowing if it’s a yellow their are fouls in hand, and if he gets the ball, he creates a chance for his team. This would absolutely punish teams that commit cynical fouls and also bring justice to teams that get fouled early on. We have all seen those yellows that are let go because they happen minute 1, now with foul accumulation being used, those fouls could come back to bite you in the ass at the end. This system would not be used for straight reds as I think those represent a high degree of unsporting behaviour.
Anyone with a better idea on how to equalize those cynical fouls?
Dave(Fifa, call/email me for further details), Somewhere


A suggestion for Woodward
As a non Man U fan I am loving this at the moment. Not watching them, as I have seen more entertaining documentaries about world war 2. It’s the swing between “they are fine” to “no they are need tearing up”. It’s like the fable BBC swing-o-meter is on acid and dancing to Dub-step.

However, my view point. Firstly no high level executive like Ed Woodward is stupid. You cannot get to run a multi-billion dollar company like Man U (current value $3.13B) and be stupid. You can be arrogant and belligerent but not stupid. Steve Jobs, James Dyson and Bill Gates when they needed an expert in a certain field went and got one. Ed W is a brilliant accountant, but he is not a football expert. Currently out of work is Michael Emenalo the overseer of Chelsea for the period when they chopped and changed managers but won everything. He had a clear vision that was implemented no matter who was in the dug-out.

Also I am loving OGS view that every defeat is positive. Is he King Leonidas fighting off the massive Persian army that will eventually lead to pyrrhic victory for everyone else because he took them so damn close? No he is a manager that no other team in the league would want, that has been promoted above his level of skill. I don’t blame him, hell if I was asked to manage a huge company for massive wages and a big pay off when I mess it up I would jump at the change.

Again this is Ed’s fault for being too reactive. Did he honestly think that OGS would have been poached by PSG or Barca towards then end of last season if he wasn’t “tied down” at Man U. Again this is arrogance on his part that every decision he makes is right. Turning Man U round is a massive challenge, but it can’t be done by a hand’s off board, an under qualified manager and an ego maniac who won’t relinquish any control.

Eliud kipchoge tried almost alone to break the 2 hour marathon a couple of years. He failed, he realised he needed people all round him to succeed. When Liverpool started turning their ship around a few years back they hired the best manager on the market. At the moment there is Pouch and Allegri both out of work. Liverpool promoted a man to run the sporting side, Michael Edwards. Their CEO, Peter Moore, gave a talk at the world football Com and explained that Edwards runs the football side and Moore the business side. The two are separate but are symbiotic to the benefit of the overall club. However, Mike Gordon President of FSG has overall say. However Gordon was responsible for repairing the relationship with Southampton that allowed us to buy VVD.

So, I am happy that Man U are being run this way as eventually this small but steady spiral down will hopeful see them end up a mid-table has been that was once great.
Ian H


…As a United fan, I’m getting seriously bored of all the kneejerk reactions by Utd fans to every tiny setback, all the finger pointing, and all the blaming. The club is not in *that* bad a position, and its time will come again.

The club’s heirarchy has, essentially, 3 levels.

Owners: Glazers. Sure, they have taken money out of the club. But United still have the 2nd largest net spend in Europe over the last 4-5 years, behind only Man City. Plus a very large wage bill. I am not going to moan at anyone for not spending as much as Mansour, that is madness. We’ve outspent Real, Barca, Chelsea, etc. Granted that OT could do with a little refurb (being made more obvious by the new builds cropping up around the league). So why are they targetted so much? Makes little sense.

CEO: Ed Woodward. Right now, he’s not the most popular man in the world. While at times things can look like he is doing things wrong, actually logic dictates that he’s almost certainly not. He came into power seven years ago with the shiny new David Moyes. Since then, Man Utd as a club has gone from a £750m club, to somewhere between £2 and 3 billion. Thats impressive work. Now imagine that he hadnt been that good at the marketing side, and United had stagnated over that time. Do you think the Glazers would be happy to be throwing around the 2nd highest net transfer spend and wage bill ? I would severely doubt it.
I would also severely doubt that he has any say with the ‘who’ of transfers, he just tries to get the deal done. United being United, they cant keep things quiet nowadays and social media targets him. Plus its tough because of their known revenue success. But he’s still got a LOT of transfers across the line – its not his fault they dont work out, thats the guy on the touchline.
He does have main call over managers though:

Moyes (not Woodward’s call) – promised the world, gave us Fellaini. Maybe sacked a little early, but he had lost the dressing room, so was time for….
LVG – a top end manager, perhaps one generation past his best, but still at Europe’s top table. He bought some good players, but the football was a little tedious. (however cannot forgive him for selling Jonny Evans). Unlucky with Di Maria being burgled and then wanting out. When it started going a little stagnant, we needed someone strong with a good personality and historic success. So surely not many arguments on the signing of…..
Jose – again, a manager from the top table. Perhaps not at his best, but always brings results, and surely the right guy for the rebuild. Won us a few cups. Again, backed in the transfer market, even if his transfer policy didnt seem to be particularly long term or balanced…. Who knows exactly what went wrong, but it became toxic, and so we called for an interim…
OGS – and what an interim he was. Earned himself a shot at the gig. But saddled with a massively unbalanced squad with a lot of deadwood. He’s started a rebuild that isnt going to take 1 transfer window like so many think it should. He’s improving players in the squad (Rashford, McTom, Williams, Fred, Lindelof, ……) and so far his transfers have made sense and been relatively successful. We’re getting some decent results, just havent got the consistency yet. But that WILL come.

So quit your whining, and get behind the team. We had a ridiculous 25 year run, getting over SAF was always going to be difficult, but the quicker you back a heirarchy that havent done a huge amount wrong, the better….
Ben (sale of Jonny Evans still the worst thing since Fergie left), London


Henderson’s not even the POTY in Liverpool’s midfield
I love Jordan Henderson. He’s a great midfielder, versatile, driven and (allegedly) a good leader. This Liverpool team would not be the same without him. I laughed when, in 2016, EA made the classic mistake of assigning something major based on an internet poll. Liverpool fans did what we do and put Henderson on the cover of FIFA 16.

But Player of the Year? Really? Henderson? We’ve seen this before. When the press gets it in their head that someone is deserving, for whatever reason, they start the boil of “you know, everyone’s talking about X or Y for player of the year”. The famous example is Ryan Giggs, who won the award off some 13 odd underwhelming appearances. Unfortunately, as it’s players voting, they don’t seem to have the mental bandwidth go beyond what’s been in said the press, so these narratives can lead them.

Henderson wouldn’t be that silly. He’s the captain of a team that have put even City’s dominance in the shade (to date. The wheels can always come off.) He’s undroppable, with Klopp finding a position for him to play in every major game, whether that’s defensive midfield, box to box, right wing, right back or even a game at centre half. He’s damn, damn good.

But we’re in a year when de Bruyne is again rewriting what is possible when it comes to creative consistency. Big Virg is, frankly, the best centre back I’ve ever seen. And has played every minute. Vardy is having a(nother) year to push his side to incredible heights. Heck, Henderson isn’t even the most impactful, important midfielder in the Liverpool side. That prize goes to either Fabinho or Gini (probably Gini).

Maybe that’s the issue. It feels like the Player of the Year has to come from the Liverpool side, but this isn’t a Fergerson or Mourinho (or Gerrard era) team . It isn’t a team with an obvious superstar. Everyone is important. No-one is. And that let’s people (in this case the press) choose who they want to highlight. And an old-fashioned English box to box midfielder certainly fits the bill.
Andrew (Too many brackets) M, Joburg


Klopp’s a hypocrite
With reference to Mike from Australia saying Liverpool fans should support Klopp’s decision on player welfare, what about Klopp’s decisions that have negatively affected the welfare of the very same players and could have contributed to their strain?

It was as early as June that Klopp raised fixture congestion as a potential issue in the upcoming season. Despite that, there were seemingly no attempts made to reinforce the squad that summer and two places were vacant when it was submitted. Included in the 23 selected players, four haven’t made a league appearance this season – Lonergan (one of three goalkeepers, despite being behind the unregistered, under 21 Kelleher in the pecking order), Clyne (who picked up an ACL injury prior to the squad submission and a return was never on the cards for the first half of the season and the second half was always looking doubtful), Christie-Davies (now loaned out) and Chrivella.

He’s essentially complaining that his players are run down because of too many fixtures, when he has the ability to supplement his squad with a further five players beyond the solitary signing he’s made in the eight months he’s been highlighting this issue.

This also reflects on the points raised in Tuesday’s mailbox comparing the number of games played by both Liverpool and Shrewsbury players. Despite being in a financially weaker position compared to the rest of their division than Liverpool are, Ricketts has ensured sufficient depth and employed suitable rotation in order to ensure that his squad is able to handle the rigours of their season. Yes, they haven’t been playing as top quality opposition as Liverpool have, or travelling as far for games, but they also aren’t in a position to add another five players to their squad and ease the burden. If we’re to genuinely believe Liverpool have the funds to bring in Mbappe, then they certainly have the funds to supplement their squad so that player welfare isn’t as big an issue for them.

A lot of Klopp’s discontent this season could have been alleviated by making the most of the resources – in terms of both finances and registration allowance – available to him. He says his complaints are about “player welfare”, but in reality he’s effectively trying to compete in seven competitions with a registered squad of 19 (now 20 with the addition of Minamino). To become a truly great manager, you work to the rules & allowances put in place, you don’t get the rules changed to suit your preferences and disregard the allowances you see as less important.

It’s well within Liverpool & Klopp’s remit to alleviate the burden on their players, but they are showing little interest in taking positive steps to do so.
Glenn, SWFC


How to stop Liverpool
In response to Ryan C, I think I know how to help the other 19 managers.

If you get a corner, take it short and put it right out for a throw. Surely that’s a better percentage option.

Weirdly enough, I think I may actually have a valid point, since at a corner you’re effectively stuck with a man ahead of the ball and unable to defend. Far better to be defending a throw in deep in the opponent half, with a chance to force a turnover.
Ben, Singapore


12 derby conclusions
1. Seriously? Just to reiterate: I really, really f*cking hate people. Throwing chairs and flares, doing Munich chants, fighting…seriously, this gene pool needs some intense thinning. United need to be hit with a ban on their away fans for the rest of the season. The Woodward chants plus this shite is just unforgivable and the perpetrators need to be punished. If this also punishes some innocent people then that’s a shame but that’s how it has to be if we’re going to get rid of this behaviour.
2. That was probably about as good as first eleven as we could have managed, given the availability of players, though Lingard is obviously the red herring there. That they managed to come away with both a win and a clean sheet is nothing short of remarkable.
3. Though City were the orchestrators of their own demise. They were very profligate – Sterling and David Silva in particular – while the referee bailed us out a couple of times with (correct but marginal) offsides. It looked to me like City were both tired and a bit complacent, thinking the job was already done. If we had any kind of decent attacking players available they might have been in trouble.
4. I mean, Martial was just fricken dire. This was yet more evidence to add to the now burgeoning stack that proves, definitively, that he is not capable of leading the line. He spent more time running around the outside of the box than he did inside it. He doesn’t have the patience, work rate or instincts to be a striker – play him on the left of the three or not at all. I don’t think that even the imminent arrival of Bruno Fernandes (glad I was wrong about that one) will make any difference there because Martial is virtually never in the positions that Bruno will expect a striker to be. If we don’t bring in another option before the end of tomorrow then it will be (yet another) horrible mistake.
5. Greenwood wasn’t much better but he gets a pass on account that he’s still only 18 and has started just 13 games this season, and also apparently was injured. If we fulfil expectations and fail to sign another striker then it has to be Greenwood who gets the nod ahead of Martial because the former at least plays like a striker; with better service into him than anything provided by Lingard, Pereira or Mata, Greenwood looks to be a better option to me.
6. The biggest miss of the night was undoubtedly Rashford. With him in that team, I feel like we might have had a chance – he is the only player who offers a consistent genuine goal threat and who, crucially, inspires and improves those around him. We’ll never know how it might have gone but it’s a shame for us that he didn’t get to play.
7. But Lingard. Chrissakes how bad can one player be? I loved the absolute rollicking sent his way by Solskjaer – though there was crushing weight of evidence to suggest he should have been withdrawn far sooner than he actually was. Not only does he not contribute to attacks or defence in any way, he actively makes everybody else significantly worse. He is actually damaging and detrimental to the side, so hopefully Fernandes will keep him firmly out of contention for the foreseeable.
8. You can totally see why Chong and Gomes are determined to leave, when you look at what is starting in front of them. I worry that they’ll still go, because presumably they’re not much more likely to get any chances with Fernandes now ahead of them but it’s a crying shame that Gomes in particular hasn’t been given more opportunities instead of Lingard.
9. Luke Shaw on the left of a back three is a terrible idea, I never want to see that happen again. He should either be left back or left out.
10. I thought Matic was extremely unfortunate to get sent off, though I don’t actually think the remainder of the game would have played out much differently if he hadn’t been. The first booking he received was never a yellow card in a million years – Mahrez should have been shown one for his pathetic reaction to an absolute non-foul. The second, yeah fair enough; there’s not a lot in it but you will almost always get one for stopping a counter-attack, so he was stupid to have done that knowing he was on a booking already.
11. I don’t care if Fred looks like Beckham or Ronaldo in training, he is not good enough at free-kicks to be taking last chancers like that, and especially not when Mata is on the pitch. Mata really should have pulled rank and told Fred to jog on.
12. I loved De Bruyne’s reaction to Ottamendi giving away that free-kick at the end of the game. The genuine pain in his face as he unashamedly castigated his teammate was brilliant and something that United could learn a lot from. There is nobody in our team who is standing up to their teammates and giving them hell for making the kind of routine mistakes that define this team. Maguire has started to show a little bit but he needs to kick on and start acting like a proper captain, and start holding his teammates to account on the pitch.
Anyway, I think it was a fair result, a decent performance (if a little lucky) and about the best that we could have realistically hoped for, given the state of the squad. Hopefully this result will actually be built upon; we absolutely have to beat Wolves at the weekend now, otherwise it’ll be another one step forward, two steps back. As frail as they looked at times, I still think City will have enough to claim another League Cup trophy, though Villa will certainly try and give them a game.
Ted, Manchester


Tony Marshall
Just today I read a particular comment about martial on the wonderful platform that is twitter dot com, and In all honesty made total sense. “Martial Plays Like He’s Doing Us A Big Favor”. Couldn’t have said It better myself.
Luke, Nairobi.


FFS Fred
I waited to send this to the afternoon mailbox to see if it was picked up by anyone in the morning. As a United fan, one of the things that is infuriating me like an itch that won’t be scratched, is watching Fred shoot from outside the box. The man has improved brilliantly, his energy and ability to step away from a press actually quite impressive, but what does he do in training to be able to take a free kick in the dying minutes with Juan Mata on the pitch?

He shoots a stupid amount from outside the box and none of the players or management team ever scold him for it. What does he do in training to be able to take 50 (fifty.) league shots this season (scoring 1) and for no one to mention that he probably shouldn’t do that. I also hate that I laugh every time after he shoots and offers the most innocent apology to a teammate that was thinking about mentioning it. The look is “I’ve eaten that cake you left in the fridge, I’m sorry you can’t eat it now but not sorry I done it. And I’ll do it again if you leave it there”.

Also, just a quick mention on the whole Ole in/out to mailbox and F365. I don’t think it’s possible to judge him on this squad but if you’re against him then be against his management. There’s been a few articles recently that sounded like personal attacks (that he smiles a lot makes him a Devil in disguise) and it’s not really necessary. It still bothers me how much traction it got about Emery saying “ebening”, because speaking a foreign language in a high pressure job on a global stage is an easy thing to do. I’m pretty sure I still say “hola” wrong.

And I don’t know if this is a thing but can I request an article (probably Matt Stead) about managers who are given time to mould teams, particularly lower league risers. There’s been a few in the last decade like Sheffield Utd, Swansea, Huddersfield, Bournemouth and probably a few more. There’s an article in there somewhere.
James, Galway

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